This is the perfect early summer nature study challenge! The crickets are already singing in most areas and it won’t be hard to take some time in the evening to use your sense of hearing to observe these interesting insects.
With gardens come grasshoppers and/or katydids. Such funny insects to observe! Can you catch a few to observe for awhile?
Use the information in the archived challenge to use your senses this week with your children.
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Sight: Look for grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets in your yard. Observe them with a hand lens. Look at a grasshopper jump.
Hearing: Listen for the chirping of a cricket or katydids and see if you can follow the direction.
Inside Preparation Work:
1.Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 338-350 (Lessons 80-82). This a lot of information so you might want to break this challenge up over several weeks so you can read, choose some of the suggestions for observation, spend your time outdoors, and then move onto the next insect.
Most of us have heard crickets in the evenings and children will be very interested to learn more about these insects that play music with their legs for us to enjoy. Here is a link to a YouTube.com video that shows what a cricket looks like when he is singing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E6q9W8Ur2k
2. Read in Discover Nature at Sundown pages 174-188. There are many suggestions for exploring the hopper’s world and you may wish to choose one or two to try with your family. You can collect a grasshopper and keep it for a few hours to observe it up close. Use your hand lens to complete the “Closer Look” activity on page 183.
Outdoor Hour Time:
Try to spend some of your outdoor time in the evening air. Our family likes to sit on our deck and watch as the stars come out after sunset. This is a perfect activity to couple with listening for crickets because it is just about at the same time that you will begin to hear crickets singing their evening songs. You can also spend fifteen minutes looking for grasshoppers or crickets in your yard or a near-by park. This challenge can be split up into two weeks if you want to really study each insect.
After your observations and outdoor time, have your child tell you some of the things he remembers about the nature study. After you have your outdoor time, provide an opportunity for working on a nature journal entry. Use the Handbook of Nature Study or a library book to find an illustration or photo of an actual cricket to draw in your journal. Have your child label the entry with a title, the date, and the place that you made your observation. Parents can always help the child with this part if needed.
There are also coloring pages included in the Summer Series ebook for the cricket, the grasshopper, and the katydid.
If you would like all the Summer Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. Here is a link to a complete description: Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges
As I was watering the garden this afternoon I noticed this big guy on the daylily. He was rubbing himself in the pollen and thoroughly enjoying himself. He didn’t seem to mind that I was watching him and taking a few photos. Amazing….simply amazing.
Look at those really long antennae.
What a great discovery this hot summer afternoon. The flower is just gorgeous too…..if you didn’t notice. 🙂
“When any creature has unusually strong hind legs, we many be sure it is a jumper, and the grasshopper shows this peculiarity at first glance.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 339
There is a section on grasshoppers starting on page 338 of the Handbook of Nature Study.
Edit to Note: Makita helped me realize that this particular insect is actually a Chaparral katydid. So now here is my question: Is a katydid a kind of grasshopper? In my field guide it says, Chaparral Katydid, Platylyra californica, grasshopper order. Are grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets all related or am I reading my field guide and misunderstanding? Insect identification is my least favorite thing to do in nature study.
This little critter has been hard for us to identify. We found him and put him in our magnifying jar so we could take a really good look at him. I have never paid much attention to the differences between katydids and grasshoppers but now after identifying this guy, I know so much more about it.
From the Handbook of Nature Study, page 343:
“I love to hear thine earnest voice
Wherever thou are hid,
Thou testy little dogmatist,
Thou pretty katydid,
Thou mindest me of gentle folks,
Old gentle folks are they,
Thou say’st an undisputed thing
In such a solemn way.” -Holmes
From page 344:
“The katydids resemble the long-horned grasshoppers and the crickets. They live in trees, and the male sings “katy did” by means of a musical instrument similar to that of the cricket.”
There is lots more information about katydids in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 343-344.
Here is a little graphic my son made on the computer showing complete metamorphosis. Katydids go through incomplete metamorphosis. (see page 298 of the Handbook of Nature Study)
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